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Macs at Microsoft? Why not!

by Brandon on February 8th, 2008

 Update 2/23:  Apparently the infamous Fake Steve Jobs has linked to this two-week-old post because of the little anecdote at the end, with an interpretation I didn’t quite expect.  After all, the main purpose of “the wall” is to remind us how awesome the work we’re doing is by comparison.  As always, Fake Steve is good for a laugh, although it’s a bit less enjoyable when you’re the one being picked on!  “Microtards?”  Ouch.  Of course, I think it should hardly be surprising that people in any business compare themselves to their competition.  Can you imagine any place where that doesn’t happen?


David Morgenstern over the Apple blog on ZDNet wrote yesterday and said:

Like the Japanese car in the Dearborn auto plant parking lot, Macs and iPhones must create problems for switchers working at Apple competitors as well as companies with a PC-or-die IT policy.

He then goes on to link to this very blog!

However, Microsoft appears to be okay with at least one of its employees running Vista on a MacBook in the office. Blogger Chris Pirillo pointed to Brandon Paddock, a self-described geek who works on search technology at Microsoft (but not in the Microsoft Mac Business Unit, where it’s okay to show up with Mac hardware and software, or at least it is at the “SVC,” the Silicon Valley Campus in Mountain View, Calif.).

It’s true, I’m a Microsoft developer (on Windows no less) with a Macbook.  And an iPhone!  I’m also rather fond of both of them.

I’m not the only one, either.  I see as many iPhones as Blackjacks these days, maybe more.  It’s really an awesome device and it doesn’t surprise me at all that geekier folk would pick one up.

I also wasn’t the first on the shell team with a Macbook.  My friend David used to be an SDET on the team, but is now a PM.  His primary machine is a first-gen black Macbook.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at least one Macbook Pro in a nearby office, and my boss has an iMac at home.

Many of them are like me, and run Vista pretty much exclusively on them.  I know some didn’t even keep the OS X partition around when they installed it.  It’s neat to play with once in a while (and the VMware Fusion and Parallels stuff is getting really impressive), but not terribly useful for practical purposes, especially if your life revolves around building a competing OS.

If you do run OS X, you can even get it on our network, although some things like getting on the WiFi take a fair bit of extra work.  Luckily there’s an IT help page that walks you through it.

But as I said, in my case it’s pretty much a PC.  A stylish, well-put-together PC.  I even recently put a Vista orb sticker on top covering the backlit Apple logo (which likes to shine through while it’s running, creating an eerie, ghostly effect).  Not because anyone ever cared that I carried a Mac around, but because I’m very proud of the team I work on and what we do there.  And it fits perfectly =)

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love working at Microsoft.  I love that I can carry a Macbook around to every meeting and have others think nothing of it.  I love that others on the team are willing to look at, use, and sometimes even live with our main competitor’s product.  I think it’s important to know what “the other side” is doing, and to understand what users are talking about when they make comparisons.  I think it’s also important that we respect the great things they’re doing down there, and strive to do better if we see some area where they’ve got an edge on us.

Little tidbit on that note:  One day a friend of mine on the team printed off a couple dozen screenshots of Leopard, showing off various tasks the user can do in OS X, and hung them on one of our hallways.  Across from it are pictures of the same tasks in that incredibly well-kept secret of a project that we’re working on.  There are post-it notes and markers next to each wall where passersby leave comments / questions.

I wonder if any hallways in Cupertino have something like that?

From → Life of Brandon

48 Comments
  1. Why on earth would you install windows on a macbook =D Thats the same as models that smoke, pretty on the outside ugly on the inside!

    I guess as you dev for microsoft its a neccessary part of the job, and the iPhone truly is a superb product. Stand up tall and proud, just dont shout apple rule in work

  2. Brandon Clinger permalink

    How does Vista work on a MacBook pro with that one button? I am an engineering student, I need a Windows partition for AutoDesk Inventor, and I’d like to be able to use it without a separate mouse sometimes. I currently have a Dell Inspiron 1520, but it is heavy and the quality, I think, really sucks, so I am going to work a little extra and save up for a MacBook Pro. I just wanted your opinion on how that would work.

  3. GAP at Group Logic permalink

    I do this too! I want a vista orb to cover my apple – how can I get one? (My MSDN subscription didn’t give me one ;-))

  4. jamesvault permalink

    just right now, I have 11 instances of conime.exe in task manager.
    http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/3950/conimeexeaj4.jpg
    Is this bug fixed in SP1?
    please signal this bug to Microsoft, where you work. Thanks.

  5. I’m with you. I really like Windows and the Vista operating system and have great fun on my Mac as well. Many people out there still do not realize that since OS 10X runs on intell and with Parellels you can have Vista or XP installed on your mac and run both operating systems at the same time. This works great for me bcause I have so much software that just won’t run on a mac. My sig has a link to an article I found that describes how the dual oses work together.

  6. Brandon,

    Vista works fine on a MacBook Pro with one button. Just install the Boot Camp drivers that ship on the OS X DVD. Use two fingers on the trackpad to right-click anything, either in Vista or Leopard. Use two fingers to scroll on the trackpad.

    I run Vista in Boot Camp, XP in Parallels, and OS X natively. No problems, although I use OS X 95% of the time.

  7. Larry permalink

    This is good to know. I was hoping that if I ever worked for Microsoft I could use a Macbook. It’s good to know they let their employees use what makes them most effective.

  8. “I love working at Microsoft. I love that I can carry a Macbook around to every meeting and have others think nothing of it.”

    Dude. Trust me buddy, they are thinking this:

    You will be assimilated!

  9. Aitortxu permalink

    Maybe you “didn’t quite expect” (sic) that interpretation, but maybe that’s how the rest of the world sees it.

    :-)

  10. “I wonder if any hallways in Cupertino have something like that?”

    Of course not, Apple would NEVER copy anything that someone else did first….

    (cough – XEROX PARC – cough)

  11. SDC permalink

    Don’t kid yourself. I am the biggest tightwad on earth, and that abortion you call Vista is the thing that finally made me suck it up and fork over the money for a real computer and operating system, my lovely MacBook Pro. Good luck with the Yahoo merger.

  12. Jakob P permalink

    “Of course not, Apple would NEVER copy anything that someone else did first….

    (cough – XEROX PARC – cough)”

    Well, please remember that Apple PAYED for that stuff Xerox developed back then.. they didn’t STEAL it.. vapor..

  13. andrew permalink

    Competitive analysis happens everywhere. As an OSX user, I’ll always be grateful to Microsoft for Cmd-Tab. I don’t use it much any more (big monitors, Virtual Desktops/Spaces, and Expose are usually more convenient), but it had its day.

    That said, I’m surprised to learn that Apple is viewed as competition for the desktop OS space, within Microsoft. It doesn’t make economic (or regulatory) sense for Microsoft to scrap for the last 5% of the market.

  14. LeN99 permalink

    > (cough – XEROX PARC – cough)

    Yeah, Apple took the raw concept from Xerox Parc and resolved it completely, developing a full-blown GUI incorporating many original ideas that have stood the test of time. Microsoft took the Apple GUI and developed an inferior copy that was just “good enough.”

    What’s there to be proud about developing an operating system that your customers have rejected in favor of the older OS? Even so, XP has multimalware issues. Vista solved most of them by making the OS barely usable! And you’re proud!?

  15. LeN99 – I didn’t really work on Vista to any significant degree. But you’re delusional if you think Vista isn’t selling well. There are obviously far more users of Vista than of any version of OS X, so it can’t be that bad =)

  16. I must say that I’m impressed with the freedom Microsoft gives you in allowing you to use Apple products as your main development platform (albeit only the hardware that you’re using). I think that says a lot for a company that is all too often hated just cos everyone else says the same thing.

    I’m a developer and I love the idea that that these days you can pretty much choose whichever product you want and for the most part they are compatible. It’s a great freedom we enjoy and I expect the integration and innovation from both companies to only get better.

    Good on you..

  17. Man, you better don’t show your MacBook to Ballmer, otherwise he might throw some furniture at you. I guess the only thing worse than using an Apple product in Redmond is quitting Microsoft and start working for Google.

  18. Jeff permalink

    “I wonder if any hallways in Cupertino have something like that?”

    Probably not something you should admit to, just shows how innovative the Apple folks can be, and seems to prove that most “cool” MS features are on the mac first, and pale on Windows anyhow. But I agree with your premise anyhow on the macbook, Microsoft isn’t a hardware company, so as long as you are running Vista, no one should care.

  19. Jeff permalink

    Brandon… be careful with the Vista argument. When you EOL existing OSes to make way for the new product, user’s don’t truly have a choice. But let’s compare apples to apples, shall we? Compare the percentage of mac users who are unhappy with leopard to the number of windows users who don’t like vista. That’s a number with significance. Microsoft may always dominate in market share, any apple fanboy or girl who says otherwise is living in a dream world. But Apple users are by far and away much more satisfied with product than their windows counterparts.

  20. matt permalink

    Brandon, also compare the percentage of the Mac user base that has upgraded to Leopard vs. the percentage of the Windows user base that has upgraded to Vista. Vista simply isn’t selling well. I don’t know a single person with Vista installed who hasn’t gone back to XP.

  21. mav permalink

    if you could install windows mobile on your iphone and wipe os x, would you?

  22. Poltras permalink

    “I wonder if any hallways in Cupertino have something like that?”
    Well, there ARE versions of QuickTime, iTunes, Safari and some other stuff coming on the Windows platform, so there MUST be a division running on XP/Vista at Cupertino. TBH, I don’t know if they run on Macs, but they sure run the OS itself (which is what matters, as Jeff said).

  23. Kevin permalink

    Shipped with every Macintosh!

    It is not on the machines as delivered, but the Development folder on the Mac OS X disks contains a S/W development environment. I had to buy a few books (Hillengass) to understand what I was doing, but was surprised how little I had to buy to be able to create OS X applications. I had not had such an experience since Turbo Pascal. It would be nice if Microsoft gave casual developers something this nice.

  24. jerry permalink

    I know a developer at Msoft who said the pictures on the walls of a competitors products happens all the time. The big issue with that is that many of those products Microsoft didn’t have a competing product. This then leads to the inevitable “get your photocopiers started” jokes. He witnessed this during the photo story development. The group thad iPhoto plastered all over the walls.

  25. Some Guy permalink

    ” how awesome the work we’re doing is by comparison. ”

    Oh, sure it is. Just like Scoble claimed that Aero was going to blow OS X away, right?

    I wonder, do you clowns go to microsoft pre-deluded, or is there an intensive indoctrination program?

  26. I don’t recall which Scoble post you’re referring to, as I haven’t taken the time to memorize them all and you didn’t provide a link.

    However, I’d agree that Aero sure looks a heck of a lot nicer than Aqua.

  27. Rest assured, the hallways of Cupertino do not have any such thing.

    Microsoft employees using Macs isn’t really news. Now if you caught an Apple employee who used a PC (and didn’t have to as part of his job), THAT would be news!

  28. Steve B-man permalink

    You said you see a lot of iPhones in the hallways. What about Zune’s? Have you seen any? Does the office refrigerator let you know when you’re running low on milk like Bill G. demonstrated a few years ago? That would be awesome!!!

    Oh, yeah – Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers!

  29. Yup, lots of Zunes around. I use a Nano, and even explained to J Allard why I do. It’s entirely because of the Nike+ pedometer. If the Zune had that, I’d definitely have picked it over the Nano. Partly because it’s a better device (FM radio is great for the TVs at the gym, for example) and because the Zune 2 software kicks iTunes’ ass. I’m not a fan of iTunes in the slightest, except for their downloadable video selection.

  30. windows? what is windows?

  31. diggdugg permalink

    Props on the good job at an awesome company, but many lulz at you for being proud of something like Vista. How much are they paying you to believe in that thing? Actually, never mind.

  32. JakeB permalink

    So Brandon, let me get this straight — You use a MacBook, and iPhone, then you let slip you use a Nano too (but would use a Zune ’cause of its ‘cool’ radio feature). Dude!

    It’s like the guy who has a few drinks and finds himself at gay clubs, but then claims he’s not gay. Embrace your inner Mac fanboy (in a platonic sense, of course).

    Also, as you must well know, the ‘we’re selling more copies of Vista therefore it’s a better system” argument is pure bunk. You’re selling more copies of Vista to corporations who are forced to upgrade, though note all the stories about companies delaying implementation.

    Meanwhile stories of switchers thrilled with their new Macs proliferate.

    Does Cupertino have a wall where they’re trying to emulate Vista? Sure they do, Brandon. Sure they do.

  33. damian permalink

    Yeah why? i understand if you use os x primarily but vista? we all know macs are overpriced.. you can get a same spec pc laptop for half the price.

  34. Modesto permalink

    I use use Red Hat…Another world ;-)

  35. Modesto permalink

    I use RedHat….Another world

  36. Gus permalink

    Mac’sucks sooo bad, plus no real geek uses Apple man WTF??? the world is driven by Bill and that’s just how it will be forever….

    Btw..Of course nobody cares if u bring a Mac to work at Microsoft…u now y? CUZ BILL OWNS MOST OF THE STOCKS FOR APPLE. The only reason y Bill don’t just squash this litlle pretensious stupid company like a bug in a windshield is cuz if he does, he’ll have something called MONOPOLY….

    Live with this one MACTARDS!!!!! Buy a Mac Bill say tks beotche :)

  37. “If you do run OS X, you can even get it on our network, although some things like getting on the WiFi take a fair bit of extra work. Luckily there’s an IT help page that walks you through it.”
    whaaaaat? I’ve never seen any easier way to get on WiFi than with OS X, with windows it use to be a lot trouble though.
    But it’s cool you like good hardware :)

  38. Bre permalink

    Leave him alone. He’s allowed to have a choice. I have several Macs & many more PCs. They both have their place and time. That’s what is so great about the world we live in… you have the option to use one or the other or like lots of us both. They are both great in their own respective genres.

  39. “LeN99 – I didn’t really work on Vista to any significant degree. But you’re delusional if you think Vista isn’t selling well. There are obviously far more users of Vista than of any version of OS X, so it can’t be that bad =)”

    There’s more users because consumers have no choice. If MSFT hadn’t strong armed the other OS makers back in the day, maybe, just maybe, there’d be some viable competition now.

  40. Joshua D permalink

    Apple very well knows what you’re up to at microsoft. It’s whatever they did a year ago.

    AS far as it is, Apple builds more stable and more sturdy computers that are guaranteed to work with the software that’s put onto it. Microsoft has a hard time making a good computer because they only control the Operating system. Meanwhile, someone else controls firmware, others control hardware, and even more others control software. And Microsoft has no way of telling its users what software they approve or recommend, because they don’t do that Like Apple does.

    But since Apple is doing an application store in the new OSX Lion, Microsoft might start approving and recommending software that is built for their system. That’s going to be hard to build up. First, you have to set standard, let others know those standards, and see if others want to go through you to get their software out.

    This is why most Windows software sucks. Because everybody wants to write for it and release it on their own.

    Apple all around has a better sense of what they’re doing, and they don’t need to buy the competition’s products to know what the competition is up to. They don’t even bother with it most of the time. They love to do their own things and innovate altogether. What do others do? They copy Apple.

  41. People who install windows on a macbook have to be insane. What’s the point really?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. links for 2008-02-24 « Ramblings of an Eccentric Soul…
  2. Microsoft Employee talks about how MS is copying Leopard for next OS
  3. Microsoft se basa en Leopard para la próxima versión de Windows | Bitperbit
  4. iPhone Software » Blog Archive » Macs at Microsoft fail to shock
  5. Microsoft se basa en Leopard para la próxima versión de Windows | QueGeek - Linux, Windows, Software, Tecnología, Internet
  6. Macs at Microsoft fail to shock | Apple Blog

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